Rite-Hite, the Loading Bay safety business, has signalled a major investment in its European operations by commencing manufacture of its Global Wheel-Lok system in Germany to provide customers outside of the US with just-in-time delivery of a range of solutions to support the warehousing, logistics and distribution industries.

The manufacturing facility in Volkmarsen, in the centre of Germany, has been upgraded with the latest equipment including robotic welding systems to dramatically accelerate the rate of production to satisfy a growing European and international demand. The technology is supported by a Lean manufacturing process to provide optimum efficiency and productivity, minimising the use of energy while reducing waste.

Thorsten Mauritz, the Marketing Manager for Rite-Hite in Europe, says that when it comes to Loading Bay safety, Rite-Hite can rightfully claim to be an expert: “Our Global Wheel-Lok system is part of a range of solutions designed and proven to improve safety, security, productivity, energy savings and environmental control within a logistics environment,” he says.

“By further investing in our global manufacturing capabilities, we are making a clear signal of our ongoing commitment to our European customers, and the opportunity to further raise awareness not only of the Global Wheel-Lok but also our total industrial safety portfolio.”

The Global Wheel-Lok is designed to secure any type of trailer to the Loading Bay, preventing well-known incidents such as vehicle creep (‘dock walk’), and accidents caused by a vehicle leaving its bay too early. Thorsten says that traditional wheel chocks are unreliable, especially in poor weather conditions: “They are also not strong enough to prevent a vehicle from pulling away unexpectedly and require someone to put them in place,” he explains.

“With Rite-Hite’s system, the driver simply reverses their vehicle to the Bay where wheel guides ensure accurate positioning onto the Global Wheel-Lok. As the tyre crosses the locking arm, the barrier rises and, using the energy of the trailer, follows the tyre until the trailer stops against the dock bumpers. The tyre is then locked in place, and a simple ‘green/red’ lighting system indicates to the driver – and the Loading Bay workers – that it is safe to continue.” 

When loading/unloading is completed, the Loading Bay worker presses the ‘unlock’ button to release the locking teeth, and a green light is displayed to the driver. The locking arm follows the trailer tyre back to its original resting position, and the vehicle is safe to leave. 

Thorsten says that since Global Wheel-Lok is self-powered and has only four main components, the system is extremely reliable and easy to maintain: “It is also particularly robust, capable of resisting up to 14,500kg of pull out force,” he adds. “Perhaps not surprisingly it is recognised as Europe’s only restraint to exceed the requirement for an FEM  Class 3 vehicle restraint on both empty and full trailers.”